There's Something about Ali
In September 2005 I was not the only cricket fan to sit up and take notice of one player's performance in a tour match between Australia and Essex. We were already on the edge of our seats during the most thrilling series that was the Ashes, and after a wash-out in Scotland, we were all wondering what the Aussies had up their sleeves before returning to battle the England team. What very few of us expected to see was a consummate display of controlled yet aggressive batting from a young Essex player barely into his twenties.
Yes, Alastair Cook had been on my radar since he captained the U-19s in 2004, and his name was in the media already in August 2005 when he was awarded Young Cricketer of the Year by the Cricket Writers' Club (honoured also by the PCA as Young Player of the Year a bit later) but his double-century against a pretty full-on Australian attack was the real sign of things to come.
Called into the England Test side, replacing the injured Michael Vaughan, Cook made his debut in Nagpur in 2006 and opening the batting, his scores of 60 in the 1st innings and 104 not-out in the second, did nothing to dissuade that this was a real talent. Albeit still almost a child playing with the grown-ups.
He continued to represent England during 2006, playing the One Day series against Sri Lanka and the Test series against Pakistan. Solid performances ensured that, although omitted from the One Day side, he was called upon to replace Trescothick at the start of the ultimately doomed 2006-7 Ashes Tour downunder. Cook scored his maiden Ashes ton in Perth, and showed that he had well and truly deserved his place in the Test side. In Melbourne, just days after his 23rd birthday, he became the fastest England batsman to score 1000 Test runs - and this in his maiden season.
A mature head on young shoulders, his batting shows class and control, and a solid 42 off 76 balls in the 1st innings last week at Headingley, proves that this young man is no flash in the pan.
England's next captain? Maybe.
[Image: Getty] [mimitig]
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Style-wise he is the new Gooch, except Cook hasn't got the huge hitting and the huge attitude problems. One more than balances out the other I feel.
He will gently accumulate runs at international level for the next 10 years with little fuss. Thank the lord we have found a Michael Atherton that will actually have a decent test side to play in.
Posted by: lee | 30 May 2007 23:08:07
There's a temptation to compare Cook to Gooch as both are tallish openers from Essex, but in style and temperament, I think he is more Thorpe - an accumulator who scores relatively slowly, but neevr gives the initiative to the bowlers. Not sure if he's the next captain, but I'd be surprised if he wasn't the captain after next.
What about ODIs though?
Posted by: The Tooting Trumpet | 31 May 2007 09:26:10
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